Manchester United owner Avram Glazer has refused to apologise to the club’s supporters amid the fallout from the European Super League proposal and fan protests.
United’s controversial and maligned ownership have come under renewed pressure to sell the club this week with large groups of fans protesting at Old Trafford on Sunday, the Red Devils’ fixture with Liverpool postponed on safety grounds as around 100 fans entered the stadium and invaded the pitch.
The outrage comes following the club’s involvement in plans for a breakaway European Super League and is the latest attempt to oust the American ownership from power, United supporters having staged several demonstrations over the past decade against the Glazer family.
The disdain comes following the ownership’s heavily leveraged takeover of the club 16 years ago, saddling the club with debt and the Glazers have since withdrawn more than £1bn from the club’s finances to cover interest, debt repayments and controversial dividends to the owners.
Meanwhile, the Glazer family have not invested a single penny of their own money into the club in that time.
The club’s co-chairman, Joel Glazer, penned an open letter to supporters in which he offered a meagre apology for the Red Devils involvement in Super League plans, incredibly just the second time the Glazer family have ever engaged directly with the fanbase – following initial comments upon their takeover.
However, when confronted by journalists near his Florida home, fellow owner Avram Glazer refused to comment when pressed for an apology and comment on the latest demonstration from anger, ignoring questioning on whether it was time for the owners to move on.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 4, 2021
Following the weekend protests, the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) wrote a letter of their own to demand major changes in the way the club is run, outlining a four-point plan in a bid to move forward.
In the letter the demands are:
1. Willingly and openly engage and promote the government initiated fan-led review of football and use this as an opportunity to rebalance the current ownership structure in the favour of supporters
2. Immediately appoint independent directors to the board whose sole purpose is to protect the interest of the club as a football club, not its shareholders
3. Work with the Manchester United Supporters Trust and supporters more broadly to put in place a share scheme that is accessible to all and that has shares with the same voting rights as those held by the Glazer family. Should the appetite be there amongst fans then you should welcome, and offer no opposition to, the Glazer Family shareholding being reduced to a minority or indeed being bought out altogether.
4. Commit to full consultation with season ticket holders on any significant changes to the future of our club, including the competitions we play in.
The fan group have warned that protests will continue should their demands not be met, with the group having demanded a response, in writing, from the ownership by Friday.